Monthly Archives: December 2015

Week 15!

It’s going to be a festive week!!!  We could even end the week with snow. 🙂

 December 14 – Christmas HAT and/or HAIR DAY

December 15 – Christmas SOCK and/or SHIRT DAY

December 16 – Marco’s Pizza Night

December 16 – Library Day

December 16 – Christmas CHOICE DAY

Pick your favorite holiday bling or accessory to wear today!

December 17 – RED/GREEN DAY

December 17 – Classroom Holiday Party @ 12:30

Look for an e-mail with the final details about our classroom Holiday Party tomorrow!

December 18 – PAJAMA or UGLY SWEATER DAY (Your Choice)

December 19 – January 3 – Holiday Break: No School

Math Update!

This week, we practiced our “Make a 10″ strategy using new green quilt cards. The cards are explained below:

The front side of our green cards shows an equation and the back side shows the answer along with the “Make a 10″ strategy. We wanted our first graders to try to “Make a 10″ before checking on the back side, so we taught them how to practice solving these equations using their fingers to represent the smaller partner. After borrowing from our fingers to make a ten, it was easy to find the teen total.

We ended the week studying our doubles facts. Many of our first graders know the first 5 doubles in a snap. The final 5 doubles were a little tougher.

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 10.15.43 PM

We also learned that we can use what we know about doubles to help us solve other equations. We noticed that here is often a set of doubles that can be found hiding inside an equation. If we can find the hidden double, all we need to do is add one or subtract one to solve the equation.  For example:
Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 10.39.25 PM

We will continue to work on our doubles facts, so our first graders can more easily use the Doubles +1 and Doubles -1 strategy. It would be wonderful if your child could practice their doubles facts at home too!! Practice makes permanent!!

Reading Update!

This past week in reading, we focused on looking closely at how our characters were feeling in the beginning, middle, and end of a book.  To track our thinking, we marked a page in one of our books that we wanted to share something about our characters with the class. We had them prove what they were thinking by giving us details from the story to back up their thinking. The kids got on their iPads and typed out what they were thinking and sent it to me. We had fun sharing our thinking with the class.

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 4.35.37 PM

As we worked our way through the week, tracking our characters’ feelings, we stopped to think, ‘Would I feel the same way, if that had happened to me?’ or ‘Do I know of any other characters, from different books, who have felt this way before?’

Writing Update!

In Writer’s Workshop, we have been focusing on creating great persuasive letters. One thing we noticed about persuasive letters was that the best letters had to do with things that were important to us and that helped make our home, neighborhood, or school a better place.

Next, we learned that persuasive letters try to make someone agree with our opinion. We stated our opinions in our letter using the “I think….” sentence starter. When we state our opinion, it becomes clear what we want the other person to think as well.

We then realized that it is important to think about our audience for our letters. If there is something we want to change in our home, then the best audience for our letter is probably someone at home, not at school.

The last thing we talked about this week was giving good reasons in our letters. Just saying that we really want something is not good enough! We need to share with our audience why it is important to us. We also discussed mini-moment reasons. These are little stories where we share a time when we saw the problem in our own lives. After our mini-moments, we also discussed howe we need to add a solution to our letter. This is how we are going to help fix the problem.

Starting tonight, you might receive a letter from your first grader. I encourage you to write them back! If you do, send it along with your child’s letter back to school. We would love to share responses we get with the class!

I also ask that if you receive a letter, make sure they are working for what they ask for! Don’t just let a “please please please” letter convince you. Look for a letter that gives good reasons and ideas before agreeing to what they ask for and a solution of how they can help make this happen. Don’t worry – I also warned them that it is likely that you might not agree with their request! 🙂

These letters are so fun to read – first graders sure are creative! Thank you for your help in making this process so fun for these first graders!

A ‘Visit’ From England!

This morning, we got in touch with our friends at Westwood with Iford Primary School.  We have connected with the Clover class before, but today we had the pleasure to meet the Thistle class, as well. We got to teach them all about Thanksgiving and a little about our holiday season here in Michigan. And then we got to learn about what Christmas means to them in their households and also what their wishes for Christmas are. We always enjoy any opportunity we get to have a chat with our friends in England!

Check out the video of our conversation!

Science Update!

Before Thanksgiving, we took advantage of our short week and hit up some of our science concepts in full force!  We studied how objects can be sorted into different groups based on their properties (or attributes).  An attribute could be the size, shape, color, texture or thickness of an object.  Some objects can have the same attributes, other are very different.

After learning that all things can be sorted based on their attributes, we continued to study three additional scientific properties: the states of matter, magnetic/non-magnetic, and sink or float!

The kids learned that there are 3 different states of matter:  Solid, liquid, and gas.  We talked about the different attributes that go along with each state of matter:

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 9.12.01 PM

We also talked about changing matter from one state to another (solid ice cube to liquid water & liquid water to the gas water vapor).

Another attribute we studied was sinking or floating.  The kids really enjoyed investigating different objects and predicted what might happen when these things were placed in water.

We also studied magnets.  We explained that in order for an object to be magnetic, it needed to be made of a special kind of metal: iron, steel, nickel or colbalt.  We went around the classroom tested different items.

We also  talked about was how magnets have 2 poles, a north and a south.  The kids learned that opposites attract and the same poles repel, or push away from each other.  To understand this concept better, we turned into magnets!  One of our hands had a “N” and the other had a “S”.  We practiced a few times showing how we could “attract” to a partner by having a N and S together, or how we could repel from a partner if we both put up the same pole.  Once we got the hang of it, the kids moved around the room to music and when the music stopped they had to listen for their direction to either repel or attract the closest person to them.  We would continue and each time the music stopped- the kids stopped and thought about which hand to put up to show the proper magnetic response.  :)

It was an exciting day!  Our first grade scientists can’t wait to study more!!!

Social Studies Update!

Before Thanksgiving Break we spent a portion of our day studying our first grade economics topics.  We begin with a review of needs and wants.  A need is something we can’t live with out, a want is something that makes life more fun.  :)  We talked about different wants- things that we have asked for for our birthdays or things that were on our Christmas list.

The kids know that we have 5 needs:

food, water, shelter, clothes, air

The next day, I told the kids that I had some candy.  I showed how I had all five flavors, but I only had enough candy for 22 kids.  Everyone was able to choose one piece to have – we pulled sticks to make it as fair as possible, but the last few kids were not so happy about the flavors left.  After they had chosen, I had the kids raise their hands if they weren’t able to get their first choice candy.  I used this example to explain the idea of scarcity to the kids, we talked about how there isn’t always enough of something for everyone to have it (or sometimes we don’t have enough money to buy everything we want).

I then shared how some of the kids had two flavors of candy that they really wanted, but they could only have one.  We talked about how when you can’t have both, then you need to make a choice between the ones you like the best.  I gave the kids the example of how I go shopping and see so many things at the store that I want, but I don’t have enough money to buy it all.  So, we have to make choices!

I asked the kids what you could do if you ended up with a piece of candy that you didn’t want and they came up with the idea to trade. We discussed how trading is a great solution, but how it only works if the other person wants what you have to trade.

It was a fun activity that spurred a great discussion.  There will be many moments of scarcity as the year continues at school.  Be sure to point out if scarcity ever happens at home too!

Week 14!

November 30 – December 11 – Candy Cane Sale 

December 8 & 9 – Jet’s Pizza Nights

December 9 – Library Day

December 11 – Holiday Gift Shop

We will head down to shop in the morning.  Please send your child’s shopping money enclosed in the Holiday Gift Shop envelope.  Make sure to fill out the information about who your child will be shopping for and how much to spend on each person!  Thank you!

Our Holiday Party is coming together!!  Thank you so much to everyone who has volunteered materials and your time already!!  Remember our party will take place Thursday, December 17 @ 12:30.  If you would like to sign up to help with any of our activities or send in donations, here is the volunteer spot link:

Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on VolunteerSpot

We could especially use: colorful socks, snacks, and more volunteers to assist with the game, and snack.

Math Update!

We began new math learning this past week!!  Our Unit 4 in math will focus on tens and teen numbers, place value to 100, and strategies for adding larger numbers.  So far, we’ve practiced counting groups of tens.

We studied the teen numbers (11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19) and noticed that every teen number has a 10 hiding inside along with some extra ones.  We also represented teen numbers using a ten stick and circles, and wrote an equation to match our work.

Finally, we introduced our first graders to a new addition strategy called “Make a 10″.  For the equation, 9 + 4 = ___, we can “count on” to find the total of 13.  Since the total, 13, is a teen number (which has a 10 hiding inside) we helped our students notice that 9 + 4 = 10 + 3.  Both of these equations produce the total 13, but solving 10 + 3 is quicker and more accurate.

We will spend much of our math time next week working with this new strategy as it is still very new and fragile.